'What the hell': Reporter's 'embarrassing' Ash Barty gaffe in live interview

Naomi Osaka provided a hilarious example of why research is so crucial to any good interview.

The defending champion cruised through to the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday with a straight-sets win over China's Zheng Saisai.

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The world No.4's 6-2 6-4 victory on Margaret Court Arena set up a third-round showdown with American teen sensation Coco Gauff, who beat Sorana Cirstea 4-6 6-3 7-5 later on Wednesday.

Osaka will be hoping to regain her World No.1 status after being overtaken by Ash Barty in 2019, courtesy of the Aussie's best season of her career.

However, with points to defend as last year's champion, Osaka has no chance of usurping Barty even if she is to defends her title at Melbourne Park.

That fact made for an awkward moment in her post-match interview when asked by a reporter about the prospect of returning to the top of the world rankings at the tournament.

Naomi Osaka was taken aback during an awkward Australian Open interview. Pic: Channel 9

"Get through where to be number one in the world?" a confused Osaka replied.

The reporter mumbled his answer, again suggesting that if she defended her title, Osaka could reclaim the World No.1 ranking.

"Oh really?" the 21-year-old said with her trademark nervous laughter.

"No I thought because Ash (Barty) is like 2000 points ahead of me and I have to defend this, that I'm going to drop out of the top 10 for real.

"OK that's good news for me... I guess."

Viewers were quick to point out that it was in fact not good news for Osaka, merely bad information from the reporter.

After cruising through the first set, the Japanese third seed was broken twice early in the second, but won the last four games after being down 4-2.

‘It worked out’

The 2018 US Open champion didn't have it all her on way, becoming frustrated by hitting a number of balls long in the windy conditions at Melbourne Park.

"I got really fired when she (Zheng) was up 4-2 and people started clapping more ... for the drama," Osaka said post-match.

"I was complaining over here and almost throwing my racquet over there, but it worked out.

"I know I've been in this position on this court before, but I really didn't want to play a third set this time."

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With AAP